Past Exhibitions

All Good Art is Political

Käthe Kollwitz and Sue Coe

October 26, 2017 - March 10, 2018

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 11, 2017 - October 13, 2017

The Woman Question

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Oskar Kokoschka

March 14, 2017 - June 30, 2017

You Say You Want a Revolution

American Artists and the Communist Party

October 18, 2016 - March 4, 2017

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 12, 2016 - October 7, 2016

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner

Featuring Watercolors and Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

March 29, 2016 - July 1, 2016

Paula Modersohn-Becker

Art and Life

November 3, 2015 - March 19, 2016

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 21, 2015 - October 16, 2015

Leonard Baskin


April 23, 2015 - July 2, 2015

Alternate Histories

Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

January 15, 2015 - April 11, 2015

Marie-Louise Motesiczky

The Mother Paintings

October 7, 2014 - December 24, 2014

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 15, 2014 - September 26, 2014


Father & Son, Inside & Out

April 24, 2014 - July 3, 2014

Modern Furies

The Lessons and Legacy of World War I

January 21, 2014 - April 12, 2014

Käthe Kollwitz

The Complete Print Cycles

October 8, 2013 - December 28, 2013

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

July 9, 2013 - September 27, 2013

Face Time

Self and Identity in Expressionist Portraiture

April 9, 2013 - June 28, 2013

Story Lines

Tracing the Narrative of "Outsider" Art

January 15, 2013 - March 30, 2013

Egon Schiele's Women

October 23, 2012 - December 28, 2012

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 17, 2012 - October 13, 2012

Mad As Hell!

New Work (and Some Classics) by Sue Coe

April 17, 2012 - July 3, 2012

The Ins and Outs of Self-Taught Art

Reflections on a Shifting Field

January 10, 2012 - April 7, 2012

The Lady and the Tramp

Images of Women in Austrian and German Art

October 11, 2011 - December 30, 2011

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 5, 2011 - September 30, 2011

Decadence & Decay

Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, George Grosz

April 12, 2011 - June 24, 2011

Self-Taught Painters in America 1800-1950

Revisiting the Tradition

January 11, 2011 - April 2, 2011

Marie-Louise Motesiczky

Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

July 13, 2010 - October 1, 2010

Käthe Kollwitz

A Portrait of the Artist

April 13, 2010 - June 25, 2010

Seventy Years Grandma Moses

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Artist's "Discovery"

February 3, 2010 - April 3, 2010

Egon Schiele as Printmaker

A Loan Exhibition Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 3, 2009 - January 23, 2010

From Brücke To Bauhaus

The Meanings of Modernity in Germany, 1905-1933

March 31, 2009 - June 26, 2009

They Taught Themselves

American Self-Taught Painters Between the World Wars

January 9, 2009 - March 14, 2009

Elephants We Must Never Forget

New Paintings Drawings and Prints by Sue Coe

October 14, 2008 - December 20, 2008

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2008 - September 26, 2008

Hope or Menace?

Communism in Germany Between the World Wars

March 25, 2008 - June 13, 2008

Transforming Reality

Pattern and Design in Modern and Self-Taught Art

January 15, 2008 - March 8, 2008

Leonard Baskin

Proofs and Process

October 9, 2007 - January 5, 2008

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 5, 2007 - September 28, 2007

Who Paid the Piper?

The Art of Patronage in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

March 8, 2007 - May 26, 2007

Fairy Tale, Myth and Fantasy

Approaches to Spirituality in Art

December 7, 2006 - February 3, 2007

More Than Coffee was Served

Café Culture in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna and Weimar Germany

September 19, 2006 - November 25, 2006

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 6, 2006 - September 8, 2006

Parallel Visions II

"Outsider" and "Insider" Art Today

April 5, 2006 - May 26, 2006


His First American Exhibtion

January 17, 2006 - March 18, 2006

Coming of Age

Egon Schiele and the Modernist Culture of Youth

November 15, 2005 - January 7, 2006

Sue Coe:

Sheep of Fools

September 20, 2005 - November 5, 2005

Recent Acquisitions

And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market

June 7, 2005 - September 9, 2005

Every Picture Tells a Story

The Narrative Impulse in Modern and Contemporary Art

April 5, 2005 - May 27, 2005

65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part II

Self-Taught Artists

January 18, 2005 - March 26, 2005

65th Anniversary Exhibition, Part I

Austrian and German Expressionism

October 28, 2004 - January 8, 2005

Sue Coe: Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round and Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 8, 2004 - October 16, 2004

Animals & Us

The Animal in Contemporary Art

April 1, 2004 - May 22, 2004

Henry Darger

Art and Myth

January 15, 2004 - March 20, 2004

Body and Soul

Expressionism and the Human Figure

October 7, 2003 - January 3, 2004

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 24, 2003 - September 12, 2003

In Search of the "Total Artwork"

Viennese Art and Design 1897–1932

April 8, 2003 - June 14, 2003

Russia's Self-Taught Artists

A New Perspective on the "Outsider"

January 14, 2003 - March 29, 2003

Käthe Kollwitz:

Master Printmaker

October 1, 2002 - January 4, 2003

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 25, 2002 - September 20, 2002

Workers of the World

Modern Images of Labor

April 2, 2002 - June 15, 2002

Grandma Moses

Reflections of America

January 15, 2002 - March 16, 2002

Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoscha

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

November 23, 2001 - January 5, 2002

The "Black-and-White" Show

Expressionist Graphics in Austria & Germany

September 20, 2001 - November 10, 2001

Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 26, 2001 - September 7, 2001

Art with an Agenda

Politics, Persuasion, Illustration and Decoration

April 10, 2001 - June 16, 2001

"Our Beautiful and Tormented Austria!": Art Brut in the Land of Freud

January 18, 2001 - March 17, 2001

The Tragedy of War

November 16, 2000 - January 6, 2001

The Expressionist City

September 19, 2000 - November 4, 2000

Recent Acquisitions (And Some Thoughts on the Current Art Market)

June 20, 2000 - September 8, 2000

From Façade to Psyche

Turn-of-the-Century Portraiture in Austria & Germany

March 28, 2000 - June 10, 2000

European Self-Taught Art

Brut or Naive?

January 18, 2000 - March 11, 2000

Saved From Europe

In Commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of the Galerie St. Etienne

November 6, 1999 - January 8, 2000

The Modern Child

(Images of Children in Twentieth-Century Art)

September 14, 1999 - November 6, 1999

Recent Acquisitions

(And a Look at Sixty Years of Art Dealing)

June 15, 1999 - September 3, 1999

Sue Coe: The Pit

The Tragical Tale of the Rise and Fall of a Vivisector

March 30, 1999 - June 5, 1999

Henry Darger and His Realms

January 14, 1999 - March 13, 1999

Becoming Käthe Kollwitz

An Artist and Her Influences

November 17, 1998 - December 31, 1998

George Grosz - Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler

Art & Gender in Weimar Germany

September 23, 1998 - November 11, 1998

Recent Acquisitions

(And Some Thoughts About Looted Art)

June 9, 1998 - September 11, 1998


Repression and Revolt in Modern Art

March 26, 1998 - May 30, 1998

Sacred & Profane

Michel Nedjar and Expressionist Primitivism

January 13, 1998 - March 14, 1998

Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

Master Draughtsman

November 18, 1997 - January 3, 1998

The New Objectivity

Realism in Weimar-Era Germany

September 16, 1997 - November 8, 1997

Recent Acquisitions

A Question of Quality

June 10, 1997 - September 5, 1997

Käthe Kollwitz - Lea Grundig

Two German Women & The Art of Protest

March 25, 1997 - May 31, 1997

That Way Madness Lies

Expressionism and the Art of Gugging

January 14, 1997 - March 15, 1997

The Viennese Line

Art and Design Circa 1900

November 18, 1996 - January 4, 1997

Emil Nolde - Christian Rohlfs

Two German Expressionist Masters

September 24, 1996 - November 9, 1996

Breaking All The Rules

Art in Transition

June 11, 1996 - September 6, 1996

Sue Coe's Ship of Fools

March 26, 1996 - May 24, 1996

New York Folk

Lawrence Lebduska, Abraham Levin, Isreal Litwak

January 16, 1996 - March 16, 1996

The Fractured Form

Expressionism and the Human Body

November 15, 1995 - January 6, 1996

From Left to Right

Social Realism in Germany and Russia, Circa 1919-1933

September 19, 1995 - November 4, 1995

Recent Acquisitions

June 20, 1995 - September 8, 1995

On the Brink 1900-2000

The Turning of Two Centuries

March 28, 1995 - May 26, 1995

Earl Cummingham - Grandma Moses

Visions of America

January 17, 1995 - March 18, 1995

Drawn to Text: Comix Artists as Book Illustrators

November 15, 1994 - January 7, 1995

Three Berlin Artists of the Weimar Era: Hannah Höch, Käthe Kollwitz, Jeanne Mam

September 13, 1994 - November 5, 1994

55th Anniversary Exhibition in Memory of Otto Kallir

June 7, 1994 - September 2, 1994

Sue Coe: We All Fall Down

March 29, 1994 - May 27, 1994

The Forgotten Folk Art of the 1940's

January 18, 1994 - March 19, 1994

Symbolism and the Austrian Avant Garde

Klimt, Schiele and their Contemporaries

November 16, 1993 - January 8, 1994

Art and Politics in Weimar Germany

September 14, 1993 - November 6, 1993

Recent Acquisitions

June 8, 1993 - September 3, 1993

The "Outsider" Question

Non-Academic Art from 1900 to the Present

March 23, 1993 - May 28, 1993

The Dance of Death

Images of Mortality in German Art

January 19, 1993 - March 13, 1993

Art Spiegelman

The Road to Maus

November 17, 1992 - January 9, 1993

Käthe Kollwitz

In Celebration of the 125th Anniversary of the Artist's Birth

September 15, 1992 - November 7, 1992

Naive Visions/Art Nouveau and Expressionism/Sue Coe: The Road to the White House

May 19, 1992 - September 4, 1992

Richard Gerstl/Oskar Kokoschka

March 17, 1992 - May 9, 1992

Scandal, Outrage, Censorship

Controversy in Modern Art

January 21, 1992 - March 7, 1992

Viennese Graphic Design

From Secession to Expressionism

November 19, 1991 - January 11, 1992

The Expressionist Figure

September 10, 1991 - November 9, 1991

Recent Acquisitions

Themes and Variations

May 14, 1991 - August 16, 1991

Sue Coe Retrospective

Political Document of a Decade

March 12, 1991 - May 5, 1991

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, drawings and prints

January 22, 1991 - March 2, 1991

Egon Schiele

November 13, 1990 - January 12, 1991

Lovis Corinth

A Retrospective

September 11, 1990 - November 3, 1990

Recent Acquisitions

June 12, 1990 - August 31, 1990

Max Klinger, Käthe Kollwitz, Alfred Kubin

A Study in Influences

March 27, 1990 - June 2, 1990

The Narrative in Art

January 23, 1990 - March 17, 1990

Grandma Moses

November 14, 1989 - January 13, 1990

Sue Coe

Porkopolis--Animals and Industry

September 19, 1989 - November 4, 1989

The Galerie St. Etienne

A History in Documents and Pictures

June 20, 1989 - September 8, 1989

Gustav Klimt

Paintings and Drawings

April 11, 1989 - June 10, 1989

Fifty Years Galerie St. Etienne: An Overview

February 14, 1989 - April 1, 1989

Folk Artists at Work

Morris Hirshfield, John Kane and Grandma Moses

November 15, 1988 - January 14, 1989

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

June 14, 1988 - September 16, 1988

From Art Nouveau to Expressionism

April 12, 1988 - May 27, 1988

Three Pre-Expressionists

Lovis Corinth Käthe Kollwitz Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 26, 1988 - March 12, 1988

Käthe Kollwitz

The Power of the Print

November 17, 1987 - January 16, 1988

Recent Acquisitions and Works From the Collection

April 7, 1987 - October 31, 1987

Folk Art of This Century

February 10, 1987 - March 28, 1987

Oskar Kokoschka and His Time

November 25, 1986 - January 31, 1987

Viennese Design and Wiener Werkstätte

September 23, 1986 - November 8, 1986

Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele/Oskar Kokoschka

Watercolors, Drawings and Prints

May 27, 1986 - September 13, 1986

Expressionist Painters

March 25, 1986 - May 10, 1986

Käthe Kollwitz/Paula Modersohn-Becker

January 28, 1986 - March 15, 1986

The Art of Giving

December 3, 1985 - January 18, 1986

Expressionists on Paper

October 8, 1985 - November 23, 1985

European and American Landscapes

June 4, 1985 - September 13, 1985

Expressionist Printmaking

Aspects of its Genesis and Development

April 1, 1985 - May 24, 1985

Expressionist Masters

January 18, 1985 - March 23, 1985

Arnold Schoenberg's Vienna

November 13, 1984 - January 5, 1985

Grandma Moses and Selected Folk Paintings

September 25, 1984 - November 3, 1984

American Folk Art

People, Places and Things

June 12, 1984 - September 14, 1984

John Kane

Modern America's First Folk Painter

April 17, 1984 - May 25, 1984

Eugène Mihaesco

The Illustrator as Artist

February 28, 1984 - April 7, 1984

Early Expressionist Masters

January 17, 1984 - February 18, 1984

Paula Modersohn-Becker

Germany's Pioneer Modernist

November 15, 1983 - January 7, 1984

Gustav Klimt

Drawings and Selected Paintings

September 20, 1983 - November 5, 1983

Early and Late

Drawings, Paintings & Prints from Academicism to Expressionism

June 1, 1983 - September 2, 1983

Alfred Kubin

Visions From The Other Side

March 22, 1983 - May 7, 1983

20th Century Folk

The First Generation

January 18, 1983 - March 12, 1983

Grandma Moses

The Artist Behind the Myth

November 15, 1982 - January 8, 1983

Käthe Kollwitz

The Artist as Printmaker

September 28, 1982 - November 6, 1982

Aspects of Modernism

June 1, 1982 - September 3, 1982

The Human Perspective

Recent Acquisitions

March 16, 1982 - May 15, 1982

19th and 20th Century European and American Folk Art

January 19, 1982 - March 6, 1982

The Folk Art Tradition

Naïve Painting in Europe and the United States

November 17, 1981 - January 9, 1982

Austria's Expressionism

April 21, 1981 - May 30, 1981

Eugène Mihaesco

His First American One-Man Show

March 3, 1981 - April 11, 1981

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele

November 12, 1980 - December 27, 1980

Summer Exhibition

June 17, 1980 - October 31, 1980

Kollwitz: The Drawing and The Print

May 1, 1980 - June 10, 1980

40th Anniversary Exhibition

November 13, 1979 - December 28, 1979

American Primitive Art

November 22, 1977

Käthe Kollwitz

December 1, 1976

Neue Galerie-Galerie St. Etienne

A Documentary Exhibition

May 1, 1976

Martin Pajeck

January 27, 1976

Georges Rouault and Frans Masereel

April 29, 1972

Branko Paradis

December 1, 1971

Käthe Kollwitz

February 3, 1971

Egon Schiele

The Graphic Work

October 19, 1970

Gustav Klimt

March 20, 1970

Friedrich Hundertwasser

May 6, 1969

Austrian Art of the 20th Century

March 21, 1969

Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

October 31, 1968

Yugoslav Primitive Art

April 30, 1968

Alfred Kubin

January 30, 1968

Käthe Kollwitz

In the Cause of Humanity

October 23, 1967

Abraham Levin

September 26, 1967

Karl Stark

April 5, 1967

Gustav Klimt

February 4, 1967

The Wiener Werkstätte

November 16, 1966

Oskar Laske

October 25, 1965

Käthe Kollwitz

May 1, 1965

Egon Schiele

Watercolors and Drawings from American Collections

March 1, 1965

25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

November 21, 1964

25th Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

October 17, 1964

Mary Urban

June 9, 1964

Werner Berg, Jane Muus and Mura Dehn

May 5, 1964

Eugen Spiro

April 4, 1964

B. F. Dolbin

Drawings of an Epoch

March 3, 1964

Austrian Expressionists

January 6, 1964

Joseph Rifesser

December 3, 1963

Panorama of Yugoslav Primitive Art

October 21, 1963

Joe Henry

Watercolors of Vermont

May 1, 1963

French Impressionists

March 8, 1963

Grandma Moses

Memorial Exhibition

November 26, 1962

Group Show

October 15, 1962

Ernst Barlach

March 23, 1962

Martin Pajeck

February 24, 1962

Paintings by Expressionists

January 27, 1962

Käthe Kollwitz

November 11, 1961

Grandma Moses

September 7, 1961

My Friends

Fourth Biennial of Pictures by American School Children

May 27, 1961

Raimonds Staprans

April 17, 1961

Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and Alfred Kubin

March 14, 1961

Marvin Meisels

January 23, 1961

Egon Schiele

November 15, 1960

My Life's History

Paintings by Grandma Moses

September 12, 1960

Watercolors and Drawings by Austrian Artists from the Dial Collection

May 2, 1960

Martin Pajeck

February 29, 1960

Eugen Spiro

February 6, 1960

Käthe Kollwitz

December 14, 1959

Josef Scharl

Last Paintings and Drawings

November 11, 1959

European and American Expressionists

September 22, 1959

Our Town

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 23, 1959

Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

May 1, 1959

Gustav Klimt

April 1, 1959

Käthe Kollwitz

January 12, 1959

Oskar Kokoschka

October 28, 1958

Village Life in Guatemala

Paintings by Andres Curuchich

June 3, 1958

Two Unknown American Expressionists

Paintings by Marvin Meisels and Martin Pajeck

April 28, 1958

Paula Modersohn-Becker

March 15, 1958

The Great Tradition in American Painting

American Primitive Art

January 20, 1958

Jules Lefranc and Dominique Lagru

Two French Primitives

November 18, 1957

Margret Bilger

October 22, 1957

The Four Seasons

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

June 11, 1957

Grandma Moses

May 6, 1957

Alfred Kubin

April 3, 1957

Franz Lerch

March 2, 1957

Egon Schiele

January 21, 1957

Josef Scharl

Memorial Exhibition

November 17, 1956

Irma Rothstein

May 19, 1956

Käthe Kollwitz

April 16, 1956

A Tribute to Grandma Moses

November 28, 1955

As I See Myself

One Hundred Paintings by American School Children

May 20, 1955

Juan De'Prey

April 19, 1955

Erich Heckel

March 29, 1955

Freddy Homburger

March 2, 1955

Masters of the 19th Century

January 18, 1955

Oskar Kokoschka

November 29, 1954

Isabel Case Borgatta and Josef Scharl

October 12, 1954

James N. Rosenberg and Eugen Spiro

April 30, 1954

Per Krogh

April 2, 1954

Cuno Amiet

February 16, 1954

Eniar Jolin

January 14, 1954

Irma Rothstein

December 8, 1953

Josef Scharl

November 11, 1953

Grandma Moses

October 21, 1953 - October 24, 1953

Wilhelm Kaufmann

September 30, 1953

Lovis Corinth, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele

May 27, 1953

A Grandma Moses Album

Recent Paintings, 1950-1953

April 15, 1953

Streeter Blair

American Primitive

February 26, 1953

Paintings on Glass

Austrian Religious Folk Art of the 17th to 19th Centuries

December 4, 1952

Hasan Kaptan

Paintings of a Ten-Year-Old Turkish Painter

October 29, 1952

Margret Bilger

May 10, 1952

American Natural Painters

March 31, 1952

Ten Years of New York Concert Impressions by Eugen Spiro; Four New Paintings by

January 26, 1952


Watercolors of New York by a Chinese Artist

December 1, 1951

Käthe Kollwitz

October 25, 1951

Drawings and Watercolors by Austrian Children

May 21, 1951

Grandma Moses

Twenty-Five Masterpieces of Primitive Art

March 17, 1951

Roswitha Bitterlich

January 18, 1951

Oskar Laske

Watercolors of Vienna and the Salzkammergut

October 14, 1950

Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part II

May 11, 1950

Austrian Art of the 19th Century

From Wadlmüller to Klimt

April 1, 1950

Chiao Ssu-Tu

February 18, 1950

Anton Faistauer

January 1, 1950

Tenth Anniversary Exhibition

Part I

November 30, 1949

Autograph Exhibition

October 26, 1949

Gladys Wertheim Bachrach

May 24, 1949

Oskar Kokoschka

March 30, 1949

Eugen Spiro

February 19, 1949

Frans Masereel

January 13, 1949

Ten Years Grandma Moses

November 22, 1948

Käthe Kollwitz


October 18, 1948

American Primitives

June 3, 1948

Egon Schiele

Memorial Exhibition

April 5, 1948

Miriam Richman

February 7, 1948

Vally Wieselthier

Memorial Exhibition

January 10, 1948

Christmas Exhibition

December 4, 1947

Fritz von Unruh

November 10, 1947

Käthe Kollwitz

October 4, 1947

Grandma Moses

May 17, 1947

Lovis Corinth

April 16, 1947

Hugo Steiner-Prag

March 15, 1947

Mark Baum

January 11, 1947

Eugen Spiro

November 25, 1946

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

May 17, 1946

Ladis W. Sabo

Paintings by a New Primitive Artist

April 8, 1946

Georges Rouault

The Graphic Work

February 26, 1946

Käthe Kollwitz

Memorial Exhibition

November 21, 1945

Fred E. Robertson

Paintings by an American Primitive

June 13, 1945

Max Liebermann

The Graphic Work

April 18, 1945

Vienna through Four Centuries

March 1, 1945

Eugen Spiro

January 20, 1945

Grandma Moses

New Paintings

December 5, 1944

Käthe Kollwitz

Part II

October 26, 1944

A Century of French Graphic Art

From Géricault to Picasso

September 28, 1944

Max Liebermann

Memorial Exhibition

June 9, 1944

Juan De'Prey

Paintings by a Self-Taught Artist from Puerto Rico

May 6, 1944

Abraham Levin

April 15, 1944

Lesser Ury

Memorial Exhibition

March 21, 1944

Grandma Moses

Paintings by the Senior of the American Primitives

February 9, 1944

Betty Lane

January 11, 1944

WaIt Disney Cavalcade

December 9, 1943

Käthe Kollwitz

Part I

November 3, 1943

Will Barnet

September 29, 1943

Lovis Corinth

May 26, 1943

Josephine Joy

Paintings by an American Primitive

May 3, 1943

Oskar Kokoschka

Aspects of His Art

March 31, 1943

Eugen Spiro

February 13, 1943

Seymour Lipton

January 18, 1943

Illuminated Gothic Woodcuts

Printed and Painted, 1477-1493

December 5, 1942

Abraham Levin

November 4, 1942

Walt Disney Originals

September 23, 1942

Documents which Relate History

Documents of Historical Importance and Landmarks of Human Development

June 10, 1942

Honoré Daumier

April 29, 1942

Bertha Trabich

Memorial Exhibition of a Russian-American Primitive

March 25, 1942

Alfred Kubin

Master of Drawing

December 4, 1941

Egon Schiele

November 7, 1941

Betty Lane

June 3, 1941

Flowers from Old Vienna

18th and Early 19th Century Flower Painting

May 7, 1941

Weavings by Navaho and Hopi Indians and Photos of Indians by Helen M. Post

January 29, 1941

Georg Merkel

November 7, 1940

What a Farm Wife Painted

Works by Mrs. Anna Mary Moses

October 9, 1940

Saved from Europe

Masterpieces of European Art

July 1, 1940

American Abstract Art

May 22, 1940

Franz Lerch

May 1, 1940

Wilhelm Thöny

April 3, 1940

French Masters of the 19th and 20th Centuries

February 29, 1940

H. W. Hannau

Metropolis, Photographic Studies of New York

February 2, 1940

Oskar Kokoschka

January 9, 1940

Austrian Masters

November 13, 1939


Paradise Lost & Found

October 12, 2010 - December 30, 2010


Beckmann, Max

Motesiczky, Marie-Louise


In the second half of the nineteenth century, the medieval walls heretofore surrounding Vienna’s inner city were replaced by a broad circular boulevard, the Ringstrasse, lined with civic monuments attesting to the glories of the industrial age. Alongside these public buildings stood the enormous private homes (many occupying an entire city block) of the largely Jewish families who had helped finance the nation’s industrial expansion: across from the University, the Palais Ephrussi; next to the Burgtheater, the Lieben mansion; down the road, near the Hofgarten, the Schey palace; and the grandest of all, opposite the Opera, the Palais Todesco. The Wertheimstein family maintained its villa, with grounds so vast they are today a public park, in the garden district of Döbling, and the Todescos had a second summer Palais in Hinterbrühl, some twenty kilometers south of Vienna. These and other illustrious Jewish families, such as the Rothschilds and Gomperzes, had risen to prominence over the course of the preceding century, established banks throughout Europe and in many cases been elevated to the nobility. Some converted to Christianity, but anti-Semitism limited their social options, and they tended to marry amongst themselves. This by the turn of the twentieth century, Austria’s Jewish aristocracy had become a dynastic clan, linked through a complex web of intermarriage.


Traditionally, the eldest son in each family was destined for a career in business, while the remaining males were free to pursue literary, scientific or other scholarly activities. Daughters learned to speak several languages, dabbled in watercolor, wrote poetry, sang or played the piano. Barred from pursuing their cultural interests professionally in the nineteenth-century, many Jewish women became celebrated hostesses. The salons organized by Josephine Wertheimstein and her sister Sophie Todesco (both née Gompers) played central roles in Austrian intellectual life, welcoming such notables as Johannes Brahms, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss. Buy dynastic marriage, often to a man older or simply duller than she, frequently proved frustrating to a clever wife. Divorce and infidelity—sometimes with another member of the extended family—were not uncommon.


Mental illness haunted the Todesco-Wertheimstein clan. Josephine suffered for years from chronic depression, which culminated in a full-blown psychotic break. Eventually, she took to her bed, overseeing her salon from this symbolic throne. Sophie’s daughter Anna, married tot he banker Leopold Lieben, could not square her artistic yearnings with the prosaic realities of marriage and motherhood. She, too, withdrew to her bed, only rising in the evening to make after-hours shopping expeditions or wake the children on a whim. Afflicted with a range of hysterical symptoms and addicted to morphine, Anna became one of Freud’s first patients (under the pseudonym Cäcilie M.).


Marie-Louise Motesiczky (1906-1996) was the daughter of Anna Lieben’s youngest child, Henriette, and Edmund Motesiczky, the illegitimate son of a Hungarian noblewoman. Edmund, a talented amateur cellist who once played with Brahms, had neither money nor any pressing desire to work. Nonetheless, and despite the fact that Henriette was nursing an adolescent crush on Hofmannsthal, the marriage was relatively happy. The family spent winters in Vienna, springs and summers at the Todesco villa in Hinterbrühl and autumns at the Liebens’ estate in Vazsony, Hungary. Henriette had little feeling for music, but she and Edmund shared a passion for hunting; in later years, she would rise early to shoot rabbits from the balcony of her Hinterbrühl bedroom. Marie-Louise was three, her older brother, Karl, six, when Edmund took ill while on a hunting trip in remote Slovakia. Edmund’s death, in December 1909, cast a long shadow over his family’s aristocratic idyll. Henriette and Marie-Louise developed a close, almost suffocating bond, from which Karl felt completely excluded, abandoned simultaneously by both mother and father.


In 1918, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was dismantled, the monarchy replaced by a democratic republic and aristocratic titles abolished. Many wealthy families lost their fortunes, but the Motesiczkys, whose money was invested abroad, were relatively unscathed by the financial turmoil that followed World War I. Nevertheless, new laws intended to alleviate Vienna’s chronic housing shortage compelled Henriette to take boarders into the family’s spacious home. Like a seasoned salon hostess, she chose tenants with intellectual or artistic credentials, housing, at various times, the composers Samuel Barber and Gian Carlo Menotti, and a girlfriend of the writer Arthur Schnitler. The family tradition of patronage was also continued by Karl Motesiczky, who used his allowance to help support first the novelist Heimito von Doderer and later the outré psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich.


By the early 1920s, Marie-Louise had become a statuesque young beauty, so tall she was nicknamed “Piz” (peetz), after the Alpine mountain Piz Buin. Henriette, who loved puns, nicknamed Piz’s friend Mathilde von Kaulbach “Quappi,” based on a conflation of her last name with the German word for tadpole, Kaulquappe. Both nicknames remained with the women for the rest of their lives. Piz met Quappi in 1922 while visiting relatives in Holland, and it was here that she first began to think seriously about becoming an artist. Exulting in the work of Vincent van Gogh, Piz noted, “If you could paint a single good picture in your lifetime, your life would be worthwhile.” At the urging of her cousin, Irma Simon (née Schey), Piz traveled in 1924 to Frankfurt, where she took drawing classes at the Städelschude. Irma’s husband, Heinrich Simon, was the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung and an important early patron of Max Beckmann. Staying at the Simons’ Frankfurt apartment, Piz attended regular Friday lunches that included such guests as the ballerina Anna Pavlova, the writer Fritz von Unruh and the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. But the guest who interested her most was Beckmann.


It is hard to tell whether Piz’s initial infatuation with Beckmann was artistic or also personal, just as it is unclear whether his encouragement of the fledgling painter was purely professional. In any event, over the course of 1924 it became evident that Beckmann was more interested, romantically, in Quappi, who was lodging with the Motesiczkys while taking voice lessons in Vienna. He married her in 1925, after divorcing his first wife (also a singer). Piz remained friends with the newlyweds, and Beckmann continued to support her creative ambitions. After honoring her artistic skills through further study in Vienna and Paris, Piz was invited to join Beckmann’s master class at the Städelschule in 1927. “Paula Modersohn-Becker was the best woman painter in Germany, and you have every chance of succeeding her,” Beckmann said. But he added, “Don’t get a swelled head. You aren’t there yet.”


Piz’s work in the 1920s was heavily influenced by Beckmann. His skewed perspectives, compressed spaces, muted palate and chunky plasticity are all evident in such early paintings as Small Poulette Wheel (checklist no. 12), Dwarf (checklist no. 19), Portrait of Karl Motescizky (checklist no. 20) and Still-Life with Photo (checklist no. 25). Nevertheless, the artist always made these subjects her own. Whereas Beckmann’s portrait sitters seemed hidden behind the impenetrable masks of alienation, Piz tried to reach below the surface to uncover her sitters’ intrinsic humanity. Her work was less brutal, gentler, humbler; it was more Austrian. Like Beckmann’s, Piz’s still-lifes has allegorical connotations, but in her case the symbolism was strictly person. She selected objects with autobiographical significance and, evoking the tradition of the memento mori or vanitas painting, combined them with flowers, clocks or other tokens of transience. In the end, Beckmann’s most important teachings were, for Piz, less matters of style than of existential orientation. “What Beckmann wanted was the most intense form of self-experience, which is at the same time the greatest responsibility toward oneself,” she recounted. Or as Beckmann put it, “The visible world in combination with our inner selves provides the realm where we may seek infinitely for the individuality of our own souls.”


The 1920s was the decade of the “new woman,” and Piz took full advantage of the freedoms that were suddenly available to her. After leaving Beckmann’s class in 1928, she traveled widely—to France, Italy, Spain, Holland and America—and set up a studio in Berlin. She was at once a privileged libertine, who had multiple lovers, attended wild costume parties and spent the major part of her allowance on expensive clothes, and (half in secret) a serious painter. Nonetheless, the Motesiczkys’ world of aristocratic entitlement was slipping away. In the mid-1920s, the Lieben bank failed, and in 1935, Henriette lost a substantial portion of her surviving investment. She let most of her servants go and, no longer able to maintain the grand villa in Hinterbrühl, moved her family and guests to a smaller cottage on the estate’s grounds. Perhaps to reduce expense, and also in response to the mounting Nazi threat, Henriette and Piz began making arrangements to leave Austria toward the end of 1937. Two days after the Anschluss in March 1928, they were already with their Dutch relatives in The Hague. Henriette, who had both directly and indirectly prevented Piz from marrying, would hereafter be irrevocably bound to her daughter.


The Motesiczky’s position in Nazi-ruled Austria was ambiguous. After 1918, Henriette had opted for Czech citizenship, and because she had converted to Christianity when she married Edmund, she and her children were not officially considered Jewish. Thus Karl was able to retain the family’s remaining assets and stay on in Hinterbrühl. Emboldened by a naive sense of immunity, he used his position to further the ant-fascist resistance and shelter other, less fortunate Jews. Eventually, however, he was undone by a scheme to smuggle Jews out of Austria. Karl was arrested by the Gestapo in October 1942 and spent several months in a Viennese prison before being sent to Auschwitz. He died there of typhus in June 1943.


Meanwhile, after a period in Holland (where they met up with Max and Quappi Beckmann), Piz and Henriette had decided to immigrate to England. They arrived in February 1939, staying first in London and then, in 1941, moving to the outlying village of Amersham to escape the Blitz. Given the flood of Central European refugees deluging England, it was not long before the Motesiczkys had recreated the salon-like atmosphere of their Austrian home. With furnishings sent on by Karl and a good Viennese cook, their household was like a time capsule from a bygone era. The Motesiczkys reconnected with such old acquaintances as the sculptor Anna Mahler (daughter of Gustav and Alma Mahler), the painter Oskar Kokoschka and the art historian Ernst Gombrich. But Piz’s most important contact in the émigré community was, without a doubt, the Bulgarian-born writer Elias Canetti, who would win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1981.


Motesiczky met Canetti in late 1939 or early 1940, possibly through their mutual friendship with Anna Mahler. The painter and the writer developed an immediate rapport, based on a shared belief in art as a synthesis of memory, vision and personal experience. Having both lost their fathers at an early age, they were keenly away of life’s fragility, which they felt only art could transcend. For a time Motesiczky even imagines that Canetti had a godlike power to personally conquer death. There was only one problem: her new beloved was already married. At this point, Canetti’s relationship with his wife, Veza, was supposedly platonic, and certainly she tolerated decades of infidelity on his part. Veza even had an on-again-off-again friendship with Piz. Canetti was quite blasé about his need to maintain liaisons with several women at a time. “This one is mother,” he wrote, “that one is sister, and the third one is daughter, although each one thinks they are the wife.”


Motesiczky’s relationship with Canetti, while beset by many ups and downs, lasted for over fifty years. Once Henriette and Piz were comfortably settled in Amersham, Canetti sent his precious library—some two thousand volumes—to them for safekeeping. Hereafter, he always maintained a study in his lover’s home. After World War II, the couple shared flats in London and Hampstead, though Canetti also spent time with his wife and sometimes at a third apartment of his own. In 1958, Henriette, who had remained in Amersham, began to show increasing signs of frailty, and Piz bought a big house that they could share, Chesterford Gardens, in Hampstead. Again, there was a library for Canetti, and it was here that he completed one of his best-known books, Crowds and Power. Veza’s death, in 1963, should finally have brought matters to a head, but Motesiczky wanted to give Canetti time to mourn, and he showed no eagerness to marry her. It was only by accident, some ten years later, that Motesiczky learned that Canetti had, in fact, secretly married a much younger woman. For the artist, this was a “personal catastrophe” from which she never fully recovered, whereas for the writer it was just business as usual. The rift caused by the marriage was eventually, though not entirely repaired, and Motesiczky remained in touch with Canetti until his death in 1924.


Beyond a common philosophical orientation, the Canetti/Motesiczky love affair was sustained by a fervent belief in one another’s art. “You are a very great painter,” Canetti told her, “and whether you want it or not, the world will hear of you. Every picture you paint will enter the history of art.” Shortly after meeting with the writer, when she was flirting simultaneously with Kokoschka and another potential suitor, Motesiczky wrote a fairytale about a fisherman and two fish, one male and one female. The story ends when a second angler, names Elias, catches the girl fish and throws her back into the pond. Elias was supportive of Piz’s vocation in a white that a husband probably would not have been. She knew well what marriage to a great man entailed: Quappi had given up her singing career to marry Beckmann (something his first wife had refused to do). The fish story suggests that Motesiczky subconsciously acquiesced to the trade-off implicit in the Canetti affair. Better an intellectual love match than the constraints of a conventional marriage.


Very few of the painters who dominated the art scene in prewar Austria and Germany survived, artistically, the upheaval of the Nazi period. Whether they went into actual or “inner” exile, the work they produced in the second part of the twentieth century seldom met the standards of what they had created earlier. Motesiczky is the great exception to this pattern: a painter who actually discovered her artistic identity in exile. In England, Beckmann’s influence gradually dissipated, and the solid, sculptural masses seen in Motesiczky’s prior paintings were replaced by more translucent, lambent veils of color. Just as this increased transparency allows one to see down through the structural layers below a painting’s surface, it allows more access to the interior life of the subject. With characteristic humility, Motesiczky once said that her intention was to depict women’s everyday existence: “Women at the hairdresser’s, girls sitting in the windows of dry-cleaning shops doing the invisible mending and gradually getting old, dying women, bathing women, laughing women, sad women.” In fact, what she achieved was a comprehensive meditation on life and loss, death and transcendence, seen through the eyes of a woman.


In accordance with the principles espoused by Beckmann and Canetti, Motesiczky’s art was grounded in reality but filtered through personal experience. Her self-portraits are revelatory and in some respects unique within the genre. The artist was keenly aware of her sexuality and of the ways in which the female figure has traditionally been arrayed (in art and in life) to attract the male gaze. At the same time, she knew that superficial beauty is fleeting and offers flimsy protection for the vulnerable being within. A combination of diffident elegance, pride and insecurity characterizes all her self-portraits, from youth to old age. In these works, she is both object and subject.


Motesiczky was not above acknowledging the humor of her complex romantic entanglements, as in the drawing Kokoschka Fishing for Two Nudes (herself and the artist’s wife Olda; checklist no. 34) and Canetti Weighing Two Women on Scales (checklist no. 65). In her oils, however, she depicted these relationships with more ambiguity and nuance. A triple portrait from 1948 shows Canetti, the artist and her slightly senile aunt in the garden at Amersham (checklist no. 36). Canetti was relatively fond of the aunt, but at the same time he resented his lover’s aristocratic family, so fundamentally at odds with his more plebeian background. Motesiczky’s own suppressed anger may be represented by the garden shears that she holds in her hands and that belie her benign facial expression. In a self-portrait with Olda Kokoschka, the two make polite chit-chat, while the unseen husband’s shadow appears between them on the back wall (checklist no. 48). And in a final self-portrait with Canetti, it is clear that the couple’s bond has been strained to the breaking point: the writer, lost in his newspaper, is completely oblivious to the artist’s mournful gaze (checklist no. 64).


It is generally agreed that Motesiczky’s crowning achievement is a series of portraits she did of her mother, which span the five decades from 1929 until her Henriette’s death in 1978. In the tradition established by her own mother, Anna Lieben, and her great-aunt, Josephine Wertheimstein, Henriette had, already in Austria, developed the habit of luxuriating in bed for days at a time. And it is thus that Piz often depicted her: reclining like a regal pasha, eyes wide with childlike wonder, tyrannical in her imposing bulk, yet nonetheless eternally innocent. As Henriette ages in these portraits, the bed is transformed from an aristocratic throne to an emblem of mortal decline. Masculine symbols, like a gun or the pipe she habitually smoked, affirm Henriette’s authority, while her faithful dog (she always had one) acts as a spiritual familiar and link to the natural environment. When not in bed, Henriette is frequently shown in the garden at Amersham or Hampstead. The flowers that she loved (and that her daughter often included in still lifes) encapsulate simultaneously the beauty and the evanescence of daily existence. Visibly Haunted by death, Henriette nonetheless retained to the last an irrepressible capacity for joy. “Despite her advanced age,” the artist recalled, “for me she looked charming.... I thought that if I could paint what I saw when she was in this decrepit state, without embellishment and concentrating on the genuine charm in her expression, then I would have done a great thing.”


Motesiczky once observed that, “Everything figurative, apart from a portrait, is a story for me.” As she acquired greater artistic confidence, she felt increasingly free to weave complex symbolic narrative around her subjects, or (as she put it) to “paint my dreams.” A dreamlike quality characterizes many of the mother paintings, melding personal associations, allegory and images culled from the unconscious. A 1943 canvas, Morning in the Garden (checklist no. 32), shows the artist and Henriette playing with a huge golden ball, whose radiance rivals that of the rising sun. In one of Motesiczky’s most famous paintings, The Old Song (checklist no. 52), Henriette is serenaded by a harpist. The harpist is in fact an Amersham neighbor, a fellow refugee whom Henriette found fairly annoying. The stunted eagle that hovers over the scene represents, according to Piz, the neighbor’s difficult husband. But a double-eagle was also the emblem of the Habsburg monarchy, and as the title makes clear, the harpist’s melody reconnects her listener with the past. The lost world of old Vienna provides a potent subtext for this painting, as it does for much of Motesiczky’s work. Conversation in the Library (checklist no. 45), a portrait of Canetti with his colleague Franz Steiner, has been called the quintessential depiction of genius in exile. However, even as the two subjects have been cut off from the intellectual tradition that nurtured them, they have recreated it in their book-lined refuge. Exile is loss, but it is also regeneration. This is especially clear in Motesiczky’s last, posthumous homage to her mother, The Greenhouse (checklist no. 71). Henriette, accompanied by the ghosts of her dogs, is here depicted in the Hampstead garden hunched over a rake. The artist was pleased when a viewer mistook the mother figure for a gardener. That is what she was, what both she an her daughter were: cultivators of beauty, believers in art as a lasting bulwark against mortality.


Toward the end of her life, Motesiczky became increasingly concerned about her artistic legacy. She has always been ambivalent about exhibiting: flattered and surprised that anyone should like her work, devastated if they did not. Nevertheless, she did have several successful exhibitions, most notably, at the Vienne Secession in 1966; the Goethe Institute in London in 1985; and the Belvedere in Vienna in 1994. Motesciszky’s relative wealth meant that she never had to sell her work, and she was loath to part with it. As time passed, the Hampstead house filled with paintings, giving the artist a sense of security, providing tangible evidence of the life she’d lived. The next phase of her career—sending the paintings out into the world—would, she recognized, need to occur after her death. “The paintings are meaningless when they cannot be seen,” she wrote. “I want their future to be secure, just as other people want this for their children.”


To that end, in 1992, the artist established the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust. Since Motesiczky’s death in 1996, the Trust has been actively engaged in fulfilling her mandate. Between April 2006 and December 2007, a retrospective exhibition was sent to the Tate Liverpool, the Museum Giersch in Frankfurt, the Wien Museum and the Southampton City Art Gallery. The Trust commissioned Jill Lloyd to write a comprehensive biography, The Undiscovered Expressionist, which was published in 2007. A catalogue raisonné of the paintings by Ines Schlenker followed in 2009. The present exhibition, Motesiczky’s first in America, is an organic outgrowth of the artist’s gradually expanding reputation.